Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thrift Store Finds – Trying to be Brave

So I have a definite type of things I like. They are usually black or grey. Usually plain, not patterned. I try for tops that are longer and skinny jeans. 

But . . . a little while ago, I saw this: 
I am a cute vest!
While it is black, it's also patterned and it is a little shorter on me. And it's a vest. This is an article of clothing I've not had in my wardrobe since the 90s! Remember this? 

Still, I thought there must be a way I could wear it. I bought it for $4.49 and worked to figure it out. Here's what I came up with: 
Together with an Express pencil skirt (via Goodwill), a green shirt from Target and my beloved boots. 

I like it, though I think I will have to pace myself wearing it. It is a fairly memorable outfit. 

Are there any pieces you have been a little scared to try that ultimately worked? 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Clothing Swap Numbers

I promised to post a tally of the number of hours of resume preparation that our swap helped generate. So here is a quick recap:

After everyone picked out the things they wanted we had: 

  • Shirts - 14
  • Coats/Jackets - 13 (I am not the only one with too many jackets I see)
  • Dresses - 3
  • Jeans/Pants - 7
  • Shoes (pairs, not individuals) - 5
  • Suits - 1
  • Skirts - 8 
  • Sweaters - 7 
  • Purses - 6
  • As well as an assortment of other accessories, which included belts, jewelry, scarves, etc.

This isn't even everything!

That added up to a total of 10.8 hours of resume preparation through Goodwill (according to their donation impact calculator). 

We will also contribute to the 2.4 billion pounds of usable goods that Goodwill has diverted from land fills since January 1, 2010. 

Yay us!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So You Cleaned Out Your Closet, Now What? Pt. 1

So if all went as planned, you cleaned out your closet last week. Huzzah!

Some of the remaining items from my clothing swap

But now what? 

Obviously, you can donate your clothing to a number of great places like Goodwill, Salvation Army and others. I'm definitely in favor of completing the circle of thrift store love by sending your fantastically cute clothes (which for whatever reason no longer work for you) back from whence they came. 

There is another option, however, which can practically double your fun: a clothing swap. Because your friends' clothes are super cute too! 

This weekend, I hosted a clothing swap, and I wanted to share some tips. 

How to Host a Clothing Swap:

  • Decide beforehand how you want to handle leftover items that no one wants. I usually decide to bring them to Goodwill myself, but if that's not practical, just know what your plan is. 
  • Invite people. This is pretty key. If you have the space for it, encourage people you invite to invite people. The more the merrier.
  • To help anyone not familiar with the concept, include some basic rules in your invitation. For this weekend's clothing swap, I included this set of instructions:
    • Sort through your clothes
    •  Pick clothes that you don't want anymore
    •  Bring them to the clothing swap, and we will swap clothes. 
    • Tres simple! 
  • Set some basic guidelines. I tend to prefer more people so I tend for inclusive guidelines. Some questions to ask yourself: 
    • Does everyone have to bring clothes to swap? I say, no, but you may disagree. Typically, I find there are lots of clothes left over at the end. If people don't have clothes to swap, maybe they can bring snacks or drinks, which makes it easier on the lovely hostess (that's you). 
    • What if some of the clothes are damaged? If you have lots of friends and guests who are crafty, you might set the bar low here. For example, I am looking for T-shirts to cut up to crochet a rug. So I don't much care if there are stains or small holes. 
  • Before guests arrive, try to sort your items into some basic categories: shirts, skirts and dresses, pants, jackets, accessories. 
    • Pro tip here: Don't worry about sizes! I made this mistake once and tried to sort things out by size. You will be amazed at the ability of different items to look great on different sizes and body types. Anyone who suggests sorting by size should be sniffed at, like so, hmmph!
  • Set out some snacks and you're ready to go! 
You'll find some great stuff and get to share your finds with friends. 

Clothing Swap Finds
Some of my finds, no surprise
they're all black and grey
Next up, how to sell or donate your castoffs and/or clothing swap leftovers. 

I'll also use Goodwill's nifty impact calculator to let you all know how many hours of resume preparation our clothing swap generated. I'm excited to get the tally! 

Do you have any great finds from swapping with friends? 

Friday, March 18, 2011

And that's why you always try things on!

Remember when I said, "Try it on – No buts"? Well, this is why. 
It started with the Goodwill Presidents' Day Sale. I bought two pairs of jeans. A wide leg black Paige Premium Denim and a wide leg Earnest Sewn. 

They looked so cute. They were my size. They were different than the skinny jeans I normally wear. They were designer jeans. They were $3. 

Sadly, not actually my size. Just a little too tight. 

To be fair to me, I couldn't try these on. During sales, Goodwills often close the dressing room. So I knew I was taking a chance. 

But . . . then I bought a Liz Claiborne skirt. Which I thought would come to just above my knees. Not so much. It's about mid-calf, with a cute little slit in the back. Which would indicate that it should come to a little above the knee and that the woman who was intended to wear this was incredibly tall. 

Later, I bought a Mossimo black dress. And the sales woman said, "Did you try everything on?" 

To which I replied, "I think it will be fine."

Clearly, I'm out of control and will have to be watched more carefully in the future. 

So these pieces will go on the clothing swap tomorrow. If no one takes them, they'll go in a pile to be sold at a resale shop. More on both of those later. 

P.S. As the Bluths know, you also always leave a note. 

What items do you tend to not try on?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's National Clean Out Your Closet Week!

Today is the first day of National Clean Out Your Closet Week. Yes, there is a holiday for everything. Tomorrow is Send Me Cookies Day (don't go Google it, because today is Be More Trusting Day).

So if your dresser drawers look like this: 
National Clean Out Your Closet Day
Sadly a Before AND After picture for today,
but I'll take my own advice soon.
Read on.

This is the first in a three part series on how to clean out your closet. Today, we'll talk about the nitty gritty of how to, and next we'll talk about what to do with pieces you don't want.

Get started: 

  • Clear off space somewhere (I always use my bed). You'll want to pull everything out of drawers, and you'll need some space to see everything.
  • Look at your current organizational system and decide if it works for you. Yes, I know it's messy now, but does having all of your shirts together work? Or do you want to have your long sleeve and short sleeve shirts separated? Do you want pants with skirts? Or do you want skirts on their own? If you're pulling everything out, take advantage of it. 
  • Sort out clothes that you know you wear frequently from clothes that you're unsure of. 
  • Refold the pieces you frequently wear and set them aside to be put back into drawers in the new (or current if it works) organizational system. 
  • Try on everything you don't wear on a regular basis. There's no point laboring over the decision to keep or toss it if it turns out you don't like the way it fits any more. 
  • Anything that fits and you know you want to keep, refold and place with the keepers. 
  • For everything you're not certain about, here's a nifty checklist to make a decision. 
  • Once everything's sorted and the keepers are folded, place back in drawers. I love this feeling because there's always so much more space afterward. And I know I can buy fun! new (sort of)! things!
For everything else, set it aside. We'll talk about what to do with it next. 
To be continued . . . 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Secondhand Wisdom: Inspiring Volunteer, Secondhand Styling and More

  • 95-year-old Mary Cuckler continues to volunteer at Treasure Trunk Thrift Store in Colorado – More
  • High style from (where else?) Goodwill in this fun personal styling competition More
  • Cool! Contest to win $2,500 in free Hanes clothes. (Who doesn't need more socks, amirite?) To enter, donate to Goodwill, snap a picture and upload to Hanes' Facebook page.  More
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